Zim remembers Sam Mtukudzi

HARARE - On March 15, 2010, Zimbabwe woke up to the devastating news that rising musician, Sam –son of music legend Oliver Mtukudzi-had died in a car accident.

Sam and his friend Owen Chimhare got involved in the fatal accident near Kuwadzana Extension while travelling to Norton from Harare.

Six years on, the country continues to remember the late young musician. To mark the anniversary of his passing on, the Daily News on Sunday recently spoke some members of the late Sam’s band, the Ay Band as well as other people who worked with him.

Former Ay Band lead guitarist Tawanda Ndoro-who is now part of Alexio Kawara’s Shades of Black-was not very forthcoming when the Daily News sought his comment. He, however, said that he last performed with Tuku’s late son at the now defunct Sports Diner.

“I would say the fondest memory I have of Sam is when we were recording the album Cheziya,” was all he could say. ‘Cheziya’ was the late Sam’s second album which was posthumously released.

Bella Charlie, who used to do backing vocals for the late Sam, said death robbed Zimbabwe of a gifted artiste.

“l worked with Sam for a very long time .He was a brother to me .He taught me a lot musically. The day Sam died I knew I would never find a band like AY Band.l miss him, l miss Martha, Owen, Edie, Tatenda...We were a tight group I am telling you,” said Charlie.

The songstress added that the Sam advised to do her own album before he passed away.

“Sam used to say: Do your own album; so my brother Sam zvawaidzidzisa zvakabata. I am currently working on an album. Thank you for everything you did for me. My life changed when I started working with you.

“Sam, Bella is working on the album you wanted me to do and it is coming anytime soon. I know you and the other AY Band members who passed on are happy for me kumusoro kwamuri. I will always remember you guys,” she said.

Selmor Mtukudzi, sister to the late musician, told the Daily News thinking of her late brother triggers floodgates of wonderful memories.

“Coming up with just one fond memory would be difficult for me because they are many. From the performances we had together, the traveling, the parties and making music together- thy are just too many.

“I will, however, tell you of the last time we spoke. He called me a couple of days before he passed on saying ‘Selmor I am going to the United Kingdom namudhara (Tuku) but I was booked to perform in Mozambique on the same dates. Can you go to Mozambique and cover for me then pamari yacho wondipawo kambijana and I said ok cool. He was a typical younger brother and I miss him dearly. May he continue to rest in peace,” said the reigning National Arts Merit Awards (Nama) Outstanding Female Musician winner.

Rising musician Gary Tight, who will perform at the Sam Mtukudzi memorial concert to be held at Pakare Paye on March 18 alongside Tuku, Jah Prayzah, Suluman Chimbetu and Alick Macheso, regarded the late Sam as a role model.

Interestingly, the 21 year old Gary never got to interact with the late Sam musically.

“The only time I met Sam was in 2008 at Mannenberg at the old book Café Book Café then Located at the Five Avenue shopping Centre. My father (Wilom Tight) introduced me to Sam .It was a very brief but important encounter.

“Later that year that year my father brought home Sam’s first album ‘Rume Rimwe’ after touring South Africa with MudharaTuku and Sam. This album inspired to take music seriously and ever since that day-my music career has never been the same again.  Sam became my role model even though he was not aware of it,” said Gary.

Wilom’s Tight is relishing the opportunity to perform at his idol’s memorial concert.

“I really feel honoured to be part of this important .I will perform Sam’s songs and am looking forward to it.

“It will also be another opportunity for me to share the stage with Mudhara Tuku who has become my mentor and musical father,” said Gary.

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